European Union - POLSKA УКРАЇНА

Paris Stabbing Attack Termed Act of Islamist Terrorism

French police said on Saturday they had detained a person believed to be a former roommate of the man who attacked two people in Paris near the former offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.Late Friday police released a 33-year-old Algerian man who was a witness and had “chased the assailant,” after the investigators corroborated the man’s account.
 
As of Saturday morning, a total of seven people remained in custody in connection with the Friday’s attack, including the suspected perpetrator.
 
The attacker was identified as an 18-year-old Pakistani man, who arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor.
 
French authorities launched an anti-terrorism investigation after the attack on Friday.In an interview with France 2 television station, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the attack was “clearly an act of Islamist terrorism.””Manifestly, the method was one of an Islamist terrorist. There is little doubt this is a new bloody attack against our country, against journalists, against our society, which you already mentioned in your report… a great amount of difficulties and emotions over the past few years and I would like the extend my support to them as well,” Darmanin said.France’s counterterrorism prosecutor, Jean-Francois Ricard, said the young man was arrested with another person not far from where the attack took place.Ricard said the attacker did not know the victims – a woman and a man from a documentary production company on a smoke break.The motivation for the attack and whether it had any connection to Charlie Hebdo is unclear.Islamist militants attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in 2015, killing 12 people.A terrorism trial for 14 people accused of being accomplices in that attack is currently going on in Paris.Charlie Hebdo angered many Muslims by publishing cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad, and ahead of the trial it recently reprinted some of the same cartoons.Last week, police moved the magazine’s head of human resources from her home after she was the target of death threats around the start of the trial.
 
  

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At Least 22 Die in Ukraine Plane Crash

A Ukrainian military plane crashed and burst into flames on Friday evening, killing at least 22 people on board, authorities said.The aircraft crashed while trying to land at Chuhuiv’s airport in the Kharkiv region, about 400 kilometers east of the capital, Kyiv.”There were 27 people on the aircraft,” said Oleksii Kucher, Kharkiv governor. “There were seven officers and 20 military students. We can say for sure now that 22 people died. Two people are in hospital. And there are three people missing.”One pilot reported failure in one of the plane’s two engines, Kucher said, adding that it should not have been a critical situation for an experienced pilot.The Antonov An-26 aircraft was conducting training exercises and most of those on board were air force cadets at the defense ministry’s Kharkiv University of Air Force.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s office said a state commission is being established to identify the circumstances and causes of the incident.

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Lufthansa Cuts Jobs, Plans to Expand COVID-19 Testing

German airline Lufthansa says it will have to make more staff cuts in addition to the previously announced reduction of 22,000 full-time positions — despite receiving a $10.5 billion (9 billion euro) government bailout in June. The airline said it would put some of its fleet into long-term storage and permanently decommission its seven remaining Airbus A340-600s. VOA correspondent Mariama Diallo has this story.

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UN Urges Belarus to Release Opposition Figure Kolesnikova

Independent human rights experts from the United Nations on Friday urged the Belarusian government to free leading opposition figure Maria Kolesnikova, saying she faces a five-year prison term after being charged with undermining national security.The musician and political activist was jailed recently amid ongoing mass protests against the country’s authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, who was re-elected August 9 in a vote that opponents allege was rigged. The rights experts said Kolesnikova was “snatched off the streets” of Minsk, the capital, September 7, threatened with death or deportation and secretly imprisoned.The statement noted that after three days with no information on her whereabouts, authorities announced that Kolesnikova was in pre-trial detention. It added that on the 16th, she was officially charged.“It is particularly troubling that the authorities have resorted to enforced disappearances in an effort to quash protests, stifle dissent and sow fear,” the U.N. experts said, adding, “We urge the authorities not to use national security concerns to deny individuals their fundamental rights, among others the rights to opinion, expression, or peaceful assembly and association.”The rights experts also said in their statement they wanted authorities to bring to justice those responsible for her disappearance. They noted she had campaigned for opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who fled with her children to Lithuania for safety.Kolesnikova was a key member of a council set up by the opposition to push for new elections. Separately, another activist, Olga Kovalkova, said that authorities forced her out of the country and that she was dropped off at the Polish border.Lukashenko said he won the August 9 election in a landslide. He claimed the beginning of his sixth term Wednesday, following an inauguration ceremony held in secret. The president, who has ruled Belarus for 26 years, said the protesters were being backed by foreign powers.
 

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Thousands March in Berlin Climate Rally

Thousands of mostly young people gathered Friday in Berlin to demand more action on climate change, part of a global day of action for the environment.Defying gray skies, the participants, many on bicycles, brought placards and banners to a rally near the iconic Brandenburg Gate. Most wore face masks as a COVID-19 precaution. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.Germany is a focal point for the demonstrations in Europe because it holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union, which together with Britain accounts for 22 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans.The climate has made headlines around the world recently, from melting Arctic ice to record Siberian heat to wildfires in California and elsewhere.German climate activist Luisa Neubauer told the crowd, “We’re here because we know that climate justice is possible as long as we keep fighting for it. That’s why we’re here today.”Fridays for Future activists protest calling for a “Global Day of Climate Action” in Berlin, Germany, Sept. 25, 2020.The demonstration was one of 3,000 scheduled to be held around the world Friday, as part of the youth activist movement “Fridays for Future.” COVID-19 restrictions forced many of the activities online.In Stockholm, the person considered to be the founder of the movement, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, was in her usual location, in front of the Swedish parliament. She told a reporter the main goal of the protests was to raise awareness and sway public opinion on the urgency of climate issues.She said, “We need to treat the climate crisis as a crisis. It’s just as simple as that. The climate crisis has never once been treated as a crisis, and unless we treat it as a crisis, we won’t be able to so-called ‘solve’ it.’ ”In 2018, at age 15, Thunberg began skipping school on Fridays and going to the parliament to hold demonstrations for legislation on climate change. Soon, she was joined by others, and the protests eventually went viral through social media.
 

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Eight in 10 Britons Ignore COVID-19 Self-Isolation Rules, Survey Finds

A new survey indicates more than 80% of people living in Britain with COVID-19 symptoms or who have had contact with someone who has tested positive are ignoring self-isolation guidelines.
 
The survey, released Friday and conducted by Kings College London and the National Health Service (NHS), found that only 18.2% of people who reported having symptoms of COVID-19 in the previous seven days have stayed isolated since their symptoms developed, and only 11.9% requested a COVID-19 test.
 
The research also shows fewer than half those surveyed were able to identify the symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
 
The research also found that only 10.9% of people told to self-isolate after close contact with a COVID-19 case had done so for 14 days as required.
 
In a statement, the survey’s senior author, Kings College researcher Dr. James Rubin, said the research indicated that while the public seems to have good intentions to adhere to the test, trace and isolate guidelines, financial constraints are the most common reason given for non-compliance, among other factors.
 
Britain this week introduced fines of up to $12,780 for breaking self-isolation rules, and it is offering nearly $640 in support payments to low-paid workers who lose income from quarantining.
 
The study shows other reasons for non-compliance ranged from not knowing government guidance to being unable to identify the symptoms.
 
Kings College says the data was collected through surveys conducted among 30,000 people living in Britain between March and August of this year.
 

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Russia’s Putin Proposes Election Non-Interference Pact With US

Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed a pact with the United States to avoid interfering in each other’s elections and other domestic affairs.
 
Putin cited what he called the “risk of large-scale confrontation in the digital sphere,” according to a Kremlin statement Friday.
 
Earlier this week, the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence briefed members of Congress about what it said were active attempts by Russia, China, Iran and other nations to undermine the 2020 U.S. election set to take place in November.
 
U.S. intelligence agencies earlier concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
 
Other Western governments have also accused Russia of utilizing both hackers and social media disinformation campaigns to undermine their elections. Russia has denied the accusations.
 
Putin’s statement, which was read aloud by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a video released by the ministry, comes amid Kremlin accusations that Western countries are mounting a “disinformation” campaign against Russia over last month’s poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Siberia.
 

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4 Wounded in Paris Knife Attack, Suspect Arrested

Paris police say a suspect believed to have wounded four people in a knife attack near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo has been arrested.A Paris police official said that while authorities initially thought two attackers were involved, they now believe it was only one person, who was detained near the Bastille plaza in eastern Paris.
It is unclear what motivated the attack Friday or whether it had any link to Charlie Hebdo, which moved offices after they were attacked by Islamic extremists in 2015.
Police did not release the identities of the attackers or the wounded, who include two people in “absolutely urgent” condition, the official said. The official was not authorized to be publicly named.
Prime Minister Jean Castex cut short a visit to a suburb north of Paris to head to the Interior Ministry to follow developments.
The trial in the Charlie Hebdo attacks is currently underway across town. Murmurs broke at the terrorism trial of 14 people, including 3 fugitives, accused of helping the attackers in the January 2015 killings, as the news filtered through.
The widows of the Charlie Hebdo attackers are scheduled to testify Friday afternoon.

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